October 27, 2008

Thirty Californians Go Bald for Change

Thirty Southern California residents have a lot less hair this afternoon, but they now have a head full of change. Hundreds watched while more than 200 auditioned to be one of Air New Zealand's "cranial billboards" today at Greenway Melrose Trading Post in Los Angeles. The 25 men and five women chosen had their heads shaved and temporarily tattooed to become walking advertisements for the airline.

Phil Keoghan, a New Zealander and host of The Amazing Race, announced the lucky selected applicants. Two of the women had long enough hair that they donated it to Locks of Love in honor of loved ones who fought or are fighting cancer. Amongst those chosen: several Kiwis; an artist who wanted to be inspired; a 6' 8" man with a head girth of 25 inches; a man who traveled from San Francisco to be considered; and a man who performed the famous Maori Haka.

One of the selected applicants, Kylie Bamberger, 19, has an auto-immune condition resulting in permanent baldness. "I've been bald since I was 15 years old and learned a long time ago that beauty is so much more than skin deep," said Bamberger. "Becoming an Air New Zealand cranial billboard allows me to own my baldness and show everyone that different can be beautiful."

The Henna tattoo will be visible for approximately two weeks and reads "Need a Change? Head Down to New Zealand. www.airnewzealand.com." The message reflects Air New Zealand's current "Depart a Californian, Return a Kiwi" advertising campaign communicating the potential for a life-changing experience in New Zealand.

Each selected cranial billboard chose a cash prize of $777 or an economy roundtrip ticket to New Zealand. Select cranial billboards will fly on a major airline competitor between Los Angeles and San Francisco in the coming weeks, encouraging busy travellers to explore their need for change by heading down to New Zealand.

"We thought this was a fun and innovative way to communicate the potential for a life-changing journey down under," said Jodi Williams, Air New Zealand's Director of Marketing, The Americas. "Given today's economic climate and dynamic upcoming election, we thought we'd remind Californians that there's a place they can visit where things are a little less complicated and change is more than what you hold in your wallet."

For photography and b-roll of the event, please visit: ftp://Anzmedia:[email protected], (Username: Anzmedia, Password: media). Or contact Katie Peterson at 310-659-5380 or [email protected] or Sarah Miller-Reeves at 310-648-7039 or [email protected]

About Air New Zealand

Air New Zealand offers more direct flights to the South Pacific than any other airline, including non-stop flights from San Francisco, Los Angeles, Honolulu, Beijing and Vancouver to New Zealand, as well as Los Angeles non-stop to the Cook Islands and Samoa. Other popular destinations include Australia, China, Japan and Tonga. In addition to flying non-stop Los Angeles-London, Air New Zealand's route between London and Hong Kong now allows customers to fly round-the-world on one airline. Consistently rated among the world's best international airlines, Air New Zealand's new Inflight Concierge Service provides all passengers with a range of services to every, from travel advice to assistance with onward bookings. Air New Zealand's most recent accolades include "Best Transpacific Airline" at the 26th Airline Industry Awards, "Best Passenger Service" award by Air Transport World magazine, "Best Airline to the South Pacific, Australia, and New Zealand", Business Traveler Magazine (USA) and "Best Business Class Red Wine" for the Martinborough Pinot Noir 2005 at the 2007 Cellars in the Sky awards. United Mileage Plus, US Airways Dividend Miles and Air Canada's Aeroplan members earn and redeem mileage on select flights. Flight and vacation essentials can be booked on AirNewZealand.com or by calling 1-800-262-1234 in the USA and 1-800-663-5494 in Canada. Air New Zealand is a member of the Star Alliance network.